Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are small berries that are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and other antioxidant compounds. Dogs can benefit from its taste and nutritional contribution, since they do not contain any compound that is toxic to their body. However, when these fruits are included in the diet of dogs, it is important to take into account a number of considerations to avoid any unwanted effects.
Do you want to know if dogs can eat blueberries?
Are blueberries good for dogs?
Blueberries are low-calorie berries that are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and other antioxidant compounds. In addition, they do not contain any substance that is toxic to the body of dogs, which makes them a suitable fruit for them.
However, like all other dog-friendly fruits, blueberries should be offered in moderation. Including them in the diet as a reward or reward will be a great strategy for dogs to benefit from their taste and nutritional contribution.
Benefits of blueberries for dogs
Including blueberries in the diet of dogs carries a series of benefits that we are going to detail below:
- They are low-calorie fruits: since they contain moderate levels of carbohydrates and low levels of protein and fat. This means that they can be offered as a low-calorie treat to obese or overweight dogs, who require low-energy diets. Here you can find more information about the Diet for obese dogs.
- They are a good source of fiber: which is a fundamental nutrient in the diet of dogs. Specifically, fiber is responsible for adding volume to the portion and creating a feeling of satiety, accelerating the speed of intestinal transit, regulating the consistency of the stool and promoting the maintenance of the beneficial intestinal microbiota. Therefore, it is important to maintain fiber levels of 2-5% in the diet of dogs.
- They contain a high level of vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin E: vitamin A maintains the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes and contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system, vision, reproduction and the urinary system. Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting and bone maintenance. For its part, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that also intervenes in the metabolism of fats.
- They are berries rich in manganese: a trace element essential for the proper functioning of the brain and for the production of thyroid hormones.
- Blueberries are among the foods with the highest antioxidant power: due to the combined action of their vitamins, minerals and fifteen anthocyanins, among which are delphinidin, motilin, malvidin and petunidin. These antioxidants protect against cell damage caused by free radicals, thus slowing the development of cardiovascular diseases, tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.
- It has hippuric acid and proanthocyanin: which prevent the development of urinary tract infections by reducing the ability of E. coli to adhere to the urothelium of the bladder.
How to give blueberries to a dog?
When we decide to offer blueberries to our dog, there are a number of considerations that we must take into account, such as the doses of blueberries that we can offer to our dog. Therefore, below we are going to see what are some of these aspects.
Blueberry quantity and frequency
First of all, we must consider how much and how often we can offer blueberries to our dog. The amount will depend on the size of your breed, fundamentally. In this sense, we can offer small dogs 3 or 4 blueberries and large dogs up to 8 or 9. Regarding the frequency, we must know that blueberries should be offered in moderation, like the rest of fruits suitable for dogs. The best option is to include them in our dog’s diet as a reward, occasionally.
Fresh and clean blueberries
The best option is to offer fresh blueberries, as frozen berries can pose a choking hazard, especially in small dogs. Obviously, this fruit should not be offered in the form of jams or preserves, since they are preparations with a high sugar content and these products may contain toxic substances for dogs, such as xylitol.
On the other hand, before offering blueberries to your dog, it is convenient that you wash them with plenty of water to remove possible contaminants or pesticides from their surface. In case you collect the fruits yourself, try to select those that are far from sources of contamination such as roads or highways.
Contraindications of blueberries in dogs
- Although blueberries are a fruit that we can include in the diet of our dogs, there are some situations in which their contribution may not be recommended.
- Food allergies: dogs with food allergies must follow a strict diet based on feed with hydrolyzed proteins, the incorporation of new foods in the diet of these dogs is counterproductive.
- Chronic gastrointestinal diseases: such as chronic gastritis or inflammatory bowel disease. For more information about Gastritis in dogs, its symptoms and treatment, do not hesitate to read this other article.
- Chou, H.I., Chen, K.S., Wang, H.C., Lee, W.M. (2016).Effects of cranberry extract on prevention of urinary tract infection in dogs and on adhesion of Escherichia coli to Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. American Journal of Veterinary Research; 77(4):421-7
- Federación Europea de Fabricantes de Alimentos para Animales de Compañía. (2017). Guías nutricionales para alimentos completos y complementarios para perros
- Fundación Española de Nutrición. (2018). Frutas y hortalizas. Disponible en: https://www.fen.org.es/storage/app/media/imgPublicaciones/informe_frutas_y_hortalizas_fen_2018-v1.pdf